Hello again, everyone. This here is Part 2 of my Road Trip Blog Series. So, in Part 1 I already wrote about luggage because “how am I going to carry everything?” is the first thing I asked myself about my own little road trip. Part 2 is about the second thing I ask myself. Well- It’s more like the second, third and fourth things. “How do I get there? What if I get lost? Is there an easy route?” etc. So Part 2 is going to focus on navigation.
There are a few things I’ll do to keep myself from getting lost on longer trips. But my trip in a couple of months will be the longest distance I’ve ever gone by myself though, so I hope the little tricks I’ve taught myself can help me. And maybe they can help you too.
My first little trick starts off pretty obvious- Find a map. It can be a paper one if you really want but in this day and age- almost everyone more or less has instant access to a map right in their pocket on a mobile phone. But personally I like to have a sit down at a computer so that the map is nice and big for detailed studying. Then, I find where I am and where I want to go- pretty easy if you have Google Maps and the addresses. So here’s where trick one kicks in- Find the furthest place in the direction you’re going that you are familiar with. This might seems pretty silly but it does help. It might even take you on a slight detour from where you’re supposed to be going but it at least means you don’t have to remember all the lefts and rights to get to that point. You can simply head to a place you [or a travelling companion] already know and then your adventure begins from there.
Another trick I’ve used is sling-shooting myself around roundabouts. Not literally, mind you. I use Google Maps to plot a route and I try to incorporate as many straight shots as I can from one roundabout to another. This way the journey is easy to remember using numbers. Get to round about- exit 2. Straight on to the next roundabout, exit 3 and so on. Not such a big deal if you can use the motorway, you can just follow signs and remember exits. But if you’re on L plates or going a route out of the way from a motorway, I’ve found this trick quite effective. The only downside to the journey’s convenience is how boring it can get if you can’t work in any nice bendy roads with a view.
But! I want to enjoy my trip. Not have to remember turns or count the exits on roundabouts. So trick three is the most obvious of them all and the one I’ll be using on my own travels. A Sat-Nav, GPS however you refer to it- you just can’t beat it. Sure, it’ll try to drive you through a private field every once in a while but nothing is perfect. In my trip I don’t really want to fork out for a whole sat-nav, so I’m going to use my phone and the sat-nav app I have on it. So what will I need?
Something to hold my phone. It has to be held somewhere securely and somewhere I can see it without taking my eyes off the road for more than a quick moment. So I can either attach it to my handlebars with the Givi S953B Universal Handlebar Sat Nav Bag, which would keep my means of navigation close to my speedometer and clocks since I can easily see there. Or I can try a small tank bag that has a map holder such as the Oxford M2R Motorcycle Mini Tank Bag. If your phone has a good battery life, the Givi Sat Nav Holder will probably suffice. But my personal choice is going to be the Oxford Mini Tank Bag.
I’ve chosen the Mini Tank Bag because my phone’s battery isn’t great. So that small bit of extra space in the tank bag will also give me all the of easily accessible storage I need to stash a power bank for my phone without having to wire in sockets to my bike’s power supply. It’ll also give me a little bit of room to stash some small tools for emergency situations, some wipes on-hand to clean the splattered bugs off my visor and any other small but potentially useful nicknacks.
So there’s a few little tips on navigation and how to find your way around. I know they’re pretty obvious to most people but some can find a longer journey that takes them further from home a bit daunting and let fear or nerves cause them to forget that getting around isn’t as hard as it seems. A big journey can definitely look and feel like a big challenge. But here’s one last tip for if you get lost- Don’t panic. If anything- enjoy it, you get to ride in a place you’ve never been before. Just keep an eye out for signs with directions to a place you recognise and follow them as best you can until you either know where you are again or can find a safe place to pull over and review the map.
And that’s Part 2 of the Road Trip Blog Series! In Part 3 I’ll be revealing how I’m just a little bit paranoid and talking about security while the bike is unattended. Thanks for reading, all! Do any of you have any tips for navigating and getting around? If so, please leave a comment and let us know your secret!
Until next time!
– MattW at Ghostbikes.com